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Howdy everyone. So after a lot of research on EVs available in early 2018 which were sub 40K, I pulled the trigger and purchased the Chevy Bolt. After sifting through hundreds of articles and a good amount of youtube review videos, I had my choices narrowed down to 4 cars:
- Chevy Bolt
- Chevy Volt
- Nissan Leaf
- Tesla Model 3
At first, I was sold on the Chevy Volt. The idea of being limited in range with an all electric car gave me some anxiety;However, after really thinking about it I thought “why not, just go all electric”. A big variable that helped me decide was that I was not planning on getting rid of my Honda Pilot SUV. The reason for this was that I have 2 children, a dog and a wife, and when we need to go on a long distance trip somewhere we bring a lot of stuff with us, that just won’t fit in a small EV. Since I was planning on using the EV as my daily commuter car, there was plenty of range on any of the above vehicles to get me to and from my job with plenty to spare each day (I have a 44 mile round-trip commute each day to work).
Next I went to a car show in Philadelphia, which was a let down considering it’s run by local dealers and in the Philly metro region dealers aren’t pushing Evs, they make their money on selling SUVs. This meant there were a limited amount of EVs to look at. But, they did have the Bolt and the new (at the time) Nissan Leaf. Another motivating factor when I thought I wanted the Volt was the looks, I think the Volt looks more like a normal car then any of the EVs out there. After I sat in the Volt my mind was changed, it was way to cramped for me and the hump in the back took up way too much room. Then I sat in the Bolt and started changing my mind about the looks of the car after I realized how roomy it felt and the visibility was great.
At the end of the show I looked at the new Leaf. I thought this was the best looking out of the bunch at the show and did a lot more research about the Leaf. In the end, the Leaf just didn’t have a good enough battery since it did not have any cooling system in the battery and much less range than the Bolt has.
For looks alone, I would pick the Tesla Model 3. The main factors in not getting a Model 3 were that:
- I did not want to wait a year or more until the $35K version was available, especially since I was afraid that the $7500 federal tax credit would be gone by then. (This was a good move since as of today the $35k Model 3 doesn’t exist and the full tax credit is no longer available since Tesla has gone over the 200K production number in the U.S.).
- There is no room to bargain with a Tesla dealer. With any Chevy dealer you can get at least $4k off the MSRP of the car.
- In order to get heated seats you need to upgrade $5k, making the starting price $35k + $5k (premium upgrade) + $1k (delivery charge) for a total starting price of $41k.
- There are a lack of physical controls and gauges on the Model 3. Although this makes for a super sexy look in the car, this means you have to look down and over to the screen to the right to do anything not available on the steering wheel. After looking at many owner videos, it seemed many were annoyed at the navigation that the information that is most important is all the way to the right (at least in early 2018). This could change with over the air updates in the future.
Purchasing an EV in the Philadelphia region sucks
One main critique I have with the big dealers is that in my region, they only want to sell SUVs. Since this is the case, the local Chevy dealers do not offer anywhere near the rebates that are available if you are willing to travel to New York, Massachusetts or Maryland. I spoke with 11 dealers, and only 2 of those dealers had an offer that was too good to turn down, which meant I had to decide if I wanted to go to MA or MD. The Chevy rebate available at the time was $2500 if you drove a competitors car. The dealer rebate available was $2500. this meant I saved $5k just by driving 2 hours south to MD! I can’t believe Chevy makes you do this, but hey, to save this much money off MSRP it was worth it! So at this point, my starting purchase price (before taxes and fees) was $39,400 minus $5k for a total of $34,400. This got me into the Chevy Bolt LT with DCFC, heated seats, front and rear crash alert (beeps at you) and lane alert.
Final Decision Made
After digesting the above information it was clear that I would go for the Bolt over the Model 3 just on price point alone. Since I would not be getting the full federal tax credit for the Model 3 and the starting price was $41k for heated seats, the cost difference was just way too steep.
Below is my full review of the car, check it out and comment on youtube! I love the car, my main gripe is the super uncomfortable front seats, they really are terrible. The best part of the car is the drive and feel. You feel very connected to the road in this car being that it is an EV and the weight is very low since the battery is on the bottom of the car and the torque is amazing. Also, the one-pedal driving in traffic is a thing of beauty! I never thought driving with one pedal would make you less fatigued when driving in traffic 2 hours a day, but it is incredible! Hope you enjoy the video.